NEWRY – Every winter Maine Handicapped Skiing teaches more than 250 adults and children with physical disabilities to downhill ski, snowboard, cross country ski and snowshoe. Every year the association depends on more than 350 volunteers to make it happen.

New volunteers are required to take three days of training in November and December then give 10 days of volunteer time working with participants at three possible locations: Sunday River Ski Resort, Sunday River Inn and Cross Country Ski Center and Sugarloaf/USA. Volunteers receive a complimentary ski/trail pass for every day they volunteer during the season from Jan. 5 until the end of March.

At the training sessions, volunteers learn adaptive skiing techniques, become familiar with adaptive equipment and learn about the many physical disabilities served at Maine Handicapped Skiing.

Clinics on and off snow are also available during the season to continually improve skill levels and technique development. Volunteers are supervised and taught by qualified staff members and advisers and volunteers with extensive training and years of experience working with participants.

Maine Handicapped Skiing serves a wide variety of people with physical disabilities, including traumatic brain injury, stroke, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, blind and visually impaired, deaf and hearing impaired and amputees.

More than 1,100 lessons were given in 2003. Downhill skiing and snowboarding lessons are taught on weekends at Sugarloaf/USA in Carrabassett Valley and cross country skiing and snowshoeing lessons are taught at the Sunday River Inn and Cross Country Ski Center, Wednesday through Friday.

The association also has a junior volunteer program for young people, ages 16 and 17; call for details. Snowmobile drivers, photographers, office assistants and special event volunteers are also needed. Call 1-800-639-7770 for more information or visit the Web at www.skimhs.org/volunteer.


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